Wednesday, March 16, 2011

One Lovely Blog Award - Thank You!

Many thanks to Fi of In the shade of my family tree and Steve of The Mad Genealogist for gifting me with the "One Lovely Blog Award." It's very sweet of you both to think of me!

The rules state that I need to pass the award on to 15 new-to-me blogs, but unfortunately, that will have to wait until next week when my life (hopefully) calms down a bit. Not that life with a 4 year-old is ever calm...

Thanks again to Fi and Steve for making my week a little brighter!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

NEHGS Provides Access to Massachusetts Jewish Cemetery Records

Good morning! I received the following press release from the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

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Access Program Part of collaboration with
Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts and
American Jewish Historical Society

Boston, MA–March 2, 2011 –The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) today announced that, together with the Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts (JCAM), and the American Jewish Historical Society of New England (AJHSNE) have made available for the first time online access to a growing database that currently includes 13 Massachusetts Jewish cemeteries, with approximately 5,000 records. More records are being added weekly until all 106 JCAM cemeteries, which include more than 100,000 total records, are online.

The names in this extensive database cover the years 1844 to the present, and, when completed later this year, will offer access to more than 100,000 names of Jewish Americans buried in Massachusetts.

NEHGS President and CEO, D. Brenton Simons, said, "For genealogists and researchers, this database is a tremendous resource and provides unique access to a set of names vital to Jewish family research. We are pleased to work with AJHS and JCAM in this way. The Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts is a marvelous society for those with Jewish ancestry and we know countless people will benefit from having it available online."

"This is one of the first of many benefits that will accrue as a result of our strategic partnership with NEHGS," said Justin Wyner, chair of the Boston Board of Overseers of the American Jewish Historical Society. "This additional resource is of significant genealogical importance. AJHSNE now makes its home inside the NEHGS research center in downtown Boston."

According to JCAM's Executive Director Stanley Kaplan, "This partnership with NEHGS and AJHS provides people with access to where their loved ones are resting, a source that is known for genealogy," said Kaplan. "We have broadened …our reach within the community."

For more information, visit the NEHGS website at, the American Jewish Historical site at or visit the Jewish Cemeteries Association of Massachusetts at


Founded in 1845, New England Historic Genealogical Society is the country's leading resource for family history research. We help family historians expand their knowledge, skill, and understanding of their family and its place in history. The NEHGS research center, located at 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston, houses millions of books, journals, manuscripts, photographs, microfilms, documents, records, and other artifacts that date back more than four centuries. NEHGS staff includes some of the leading expert genealogists in the country, specializing in early American, Irish, English, Italian, Scottish, Atlantic and French Canadian, African American, Native American, and Jewish genealogy. Our award-winning website,, provides access to more than 135 million searchable names in 3,000 collections.

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Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with NEHGS. I'm still trying to convince my husband that we need a subscription, but since most of our ancestors are from the south, it's proving to be a hard sell, if you know what I mean.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Year of Surprises (Already!)

Right out of the gate, 2011 has proven to be a crazy year, full of unexpected surprises.

It started out with VFH* knocking me off my feet for almost 2 months. I was beginning to think it would never end... but thankfully it finally did.

That was followed by the news that my daughter had a very nasty ear infection, causing a temporary loss of hearing in both ears. Two courses of antibiotics later, she has regained the hearing in one ear, but we're still waiting for the other ear to clear up. I'm hoping that tubes are not in her future.

Add to that the fun of planning and carrying out my first conference, which was a completely new experience for me, and surprised me in ways both expected and not expected. I now have a great deal more respect for people like Holly Hansen and Paula Hinkel who do this on a regular basis (you ladies are SAINTS!).

Finally, top off with an insane amount of reports - more reports than I think I've ever written in my life - and trying to establish a semi-regular homeschool routine for my daughter. Her voracious appetite for learning reminds me of that robot in the 80's movie Short Circuit... "More input, please!"

I can also say that I've had some wonderful genealogy news during this time. One lead in particular solved a puzzle that I've spent almost 20 years trying to crack. Another came from a man who used to correspond with my aunt back in the mid 90's. I took a chance and sent him a letter last spring, and he finally answered me a few weeks ago. In addition, a relative of my husband's left a comment here on my blog, which started a great dialog between the two of them.

So... as if this year hasn't been enough of a roller coaster already, I got the news on Wednesday that "Little Bytes of Life" had been selected as one of Family Tree Magazine's 40 Best Genealogy Blogs for 2011 for the second consecutive year. I really don't know if I'm more surprised that my blog was selected, or that some truly outstanding blogs were not selected.

But either way, I'm very happy, very humbled, and very honored. I thank the panel of experts for their vote of confidence. But most of all, I thank YOU, my readers... for coming back, for commenting, and for keeping me inspired and on my toes.

I'm hoping that the craziness will let up in the next 2 weeks, and that I'll be able to return to regular blogging at that time. If all goes as planned, the "Best Bytes" series should return on March 25.

In the meantime, I hope the Leprechauns bring you a genealogy pot of gold!

* Virus From Hell

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

UPDATE: I was trying to compose this post while my husband was interrupting me with tsunami news every 8 seconds, and my daughter was screaming that she wanted to watch cartoons. I neglected to congratulate the other 39 amazingly wonderful bloggers on the FT40-2011 list. Being included on any list with all of you really makes my day year. MWAH!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Central Coast Genealogy Calendar: March 2011

"If you're enough lucky to be Irish, you're lucky enough!
~Irish Saying.

I'm a little "behind the eight ball" this month, so I apologize for posting late. Some great events coming up this month!

Thursday, March 3
Monterey County Genealogical Society
7:00 PM (Doors open at 6:00 PM)
Madaleine Laird - "Social Genealogy: Using Blogs to Document your Heritage and Find Elusive Ancestors"

Saturday, March 5
San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society
1:45 PM
Lisa Louise Cooke - "Tap into your Inner Private Eye: 8 Strategies for Finding Living Relatives"

Sunday, March 6
Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County
1:00 - 5:00 PM
"Assisted Research Afternoon at the L.A. Family History Library (FHL)"

Tuesday, March 8
Conejo Valley Genealogical Society
7:00 - 9:00 PM
Computer Interest Group Meeting
Barbara Warren - "Publishing Your Own Book Online"

Tuesday, March 15
Conejo Valley Genealogical Society
5:30 - 6:30 PM - Genealogy Tools
Obit Project Workshop
6:45 - 8:45 PM - General Meeting
Family History Library Reports

Saturday, March 19
Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society
9:30 AM - 12:00 Noon
William L Beigel - "Researching World War II and Korean War Military and Casualty Records"

Saturday, March 19
Ventura County Genealogical Society
9:00 AM – 4:15 PM
Family History Conference

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Please send me an email if you would like to have your event included in this monthly calendar series.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal